England and Italy get another crack at glory come Sunday, and while Italy will be attempting to win it again since claiming the 1968 edition, hosts England will be hoping it comes home for the first time ever.
European Championship 2020
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Italy needed a penalty shootout to get the better of Spain and get to this stage. The Italians were under pressure for majority of the game but managed to take the lead against the run of play through Lorenzo Insigne in the 60th minute.
With Alvaro Morata having levelled the game in the 80th minute, and Spain pushing for a winner, the Italians held on. As the game progressed more and more towards penalties, there was this eerie feeling within the Italy players; they just knew they were going to win the shootout and captain Giorgio Chiellini was even seen joking around with one or two of the Spaniards just before the shootout.
Even after Manuel Locatelli missed the first penalty, belief and confidence never wandered from the Italians and they eventually got the win in the end. Thus, the Azzurri are back in the final since 2016, and Roberto Mancini’s men would be proud of their accomplishments in reaching the final and would want to cap off what has been a stellar unbeaten run which now stands at an amazing 33 games with a win at Wembley to give the country their first major trophy since lifting the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
England had an ‘easier’ route to the semifinals, and while they were expected to brush aside Denmark in their semifinal game, the Danes put up a fight the English hadn’t experienced all summer long and even took the lead through a stunning freekick from Mikkel Damsgaard.
However, the lead didn’t last too long as England equalized after some silky, incisive passes, with Denmark captain Simon Kjær putting the ball into his own net. Denmark were the better side after the halftime break but were unable to find a winner. The game went on into extra time before the most controversial moment of the tournament occurred; Raheem Sterling waltzed his way into the Danish eighteen-yard area before falling down and the referee didn’t hesitate to point to the spot.
The replays showed there was little to zero contact on Sterling but the VAR was adamant and upheld the decision. Harry Kane stepped up to take the penalty and had his effort saved by Kasper Schmeichel but he was able to put away the rebound and send England to their first Euros final.
The Three Lions came into this tournament as the second favorites just behind France and will now feel vindicated in reaching the final hurdle. They now have their eyes on the ultimate prize, and what would be England’s second ever major trophy.
Leandro Spinazzola will miss out on the final after he tore his Achilles’ tendon in the victory over Belgium.
Federico Chiesa is also a doubt.
Gareth Southgate has all his players available ahead of this game.
Italy’s last five games: WWWWD
England’s last five games: DWWWW
With 12 goals already scored in this edition, Italy have never scored more than 12 at a major championship, so one more goal would get them set another record.
England are unbeaten in 11 games at Wembley and have never lost a knockout game in regular time at Wembley.
England haven’t beaten the Italians in a competitive game since 1977.
This is a match that could go either way. On one hand, the Italians have played the best football in the tournament and deserve to be in the final while on the other hand, England have been very methodical in their approach and maybe, they have reached here thanks to some shoddy refereeing.
They head into this match as very slight favorites due to being the hosts. Both nations have worked their way to the final thanks to stellar defending but both sides also know how to pile on the pressure and score goals. It’s definitely going to be a tough affair at Wembley and the game could go all the way to penalties yet. However, the last four meetings between both sides has seen both team scoring and with how they’ve both played in their last two games, it should be the same case once probably. Let’s back Both Teams To Score at odds of 11/10.